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What did the Meiji Emperor wear when paying homage at the Three Shrines of the Imperial Court? What did the Empress wear on New Year's and on the Emperor's birthday? Well, the answers are all here in Japan's oldest extant concrete building. On your visit do not miss the beautiful imperial carriage. Portraits of the Emperor and Empress done by the Italian, Edoardo Chiossone in the 1890s complement the collection.
This naturally wooded park adjoins the Meiji Jingu Shrine, and until 1996, it hosted Tokyo's amateur rock and roll bands, who strutted their stuff every Sunday. They have since moved to Omotesando, and Yoyogi Park has become quiet, and ideal for lovers and families who like to enjoy a tranquil Sunday afternoon strolling by small ponds filled with koi (Japanese carp). Rental bicycles are available within the grounds during summer.
This memorial shrine honors the military commander Admiral Heihachiro Togo (1848-1934) who was campaign commander in the defining 1905 victory against Russia at the Tsushima Straits. From 1914-1924 Togo supervised former Emperor Hirohito's education. In 1940 the shrine was established but destroyed in the air bombings of 1945. It was replaced by a contemporary building in 1969 and a memorial hall was added. Admission: Free
Harajuku is the area around Harajuku station, located between Shinjuku and Shibuya. Harajuku is known for its fashion and shopping. Take a walk down either of the main shopping streets, Omotesando and Takeshita-dōri, and you will find unique stores as well as major chains. Harajuku is also where you can see "Harajuku Girls," teenagers who dress in elaborate outfits that often resemble costumes from a movie or comic book.
Jingu Bashi is the best place to go in Tokyo for adolescent cosplay action on a regular basis. Finding the spectacle is simple—it's just outside the familiar Harajuku Station and easy to spot due to the masses of camera-toting tourists. Saturdays and Sundays in the early afternoon are the ideal time to go for large gatherings of these non-conformist primadonna youth. However, since they sometimes object to the extra public exposure, be sure to ask them before you take their picture. Fun for the entire family, and feel free to join in with your own cosplay theme and be the center of attention! - Erin Sanchez
The celebrated Yoyogi National Gymnasium, completed in 1964, was initially built to house diving and swimming events in the 1964 Summer Olympics. It was designed by Kenzo Tange and was rightly lauded by the Japanese people for its graceful, swooping curves and the design of its suspension roof. The stadium is now used mainly for hockey and basketball and it remains one of the city's most recognizable architectural landmarks.
The Statue of a Mother and Child of the Sun was designed by the sculptor, Shin Hongo and built in 1976 by the Kanagawa Chapter of the Japan Ice Cream Association. It is positioned opposite the real location of the first ice cream shop in Japan, started by Fusazo Machida who was a member of the first delegation to visit the United States of America. He was so impressed when he tasted ice cream that on his return he opened a shop called Hyousuiten (shop for iced water). For the first ten years of business, Machida had to bring natural ice from Hokkaido for his handmade ice cream process. -AH
Across Inokashira Avenue from Yoyogi Park, this stadium was designed by Kenzo Tange, Japan's foremost postwar architect. Built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, its awesome and daring shell-like steel-suspension roofing has earned it a spot in the Japanese Ministry of Construction's Top 100 Public Structures of Japan. The stadium seats 8000 and is used for concerts, mostly rock, as well as sporting events.